|4801025||Adjustable shelf organizer units having frangible side and rear portions||January, 1989||Flum et al.||211/153|
|4785945||Assembly of variable-width gravity-feed beverage-container dispenser array from single-lane components||November, 1988||Rowse et al.||211/59.2|
|4785943||Expandable storage and dispensing system||November, 1988||Deffner et al.||211/59.2|
|4782959||Dispensing rack||November, 1988||Kral et al.||211/59.2|
|4724968||Device for the presentation of retail articles||February, 1988||Wombacher||211/184|
|4690287||Gravity feed display device||September, 1987||Fershko et al.||211/128|
|4478337||Adjustable shelving unit||October, 1984||Flum||211/153|
|3832957||INTERLOCKING DISPLAY SHELF ARRANGEMENT||September, 1974||Mendenhall||211/153|
|3513786||MULTISECTION SHELF AND BRACKET ASSEMBLY||May, 1970||Kellogg||211/153|
|3452959||COMBINATIONAL PLASTIC HANGER-BOARD CONSTRUCTION||July, 1969||Ishikawa||248/220.3|
This invention pertains to a shelving structure for use as a gravity feed device or in some instances as a product organizing device, the structure being arranged for mounting on suitable supporting means, either as a single unit or as a stacked arrangement.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,690,287 issued Sep. 1, 1987 and owned by the assignee of this invention discloses a display device such as is used in refrigerators commonly used in supermarkets and the like and includes a main central portion together with side portions which are frangibly secured to the main central portion so that removal of one or more frangible side portions effectively reduces the area and overall capacity of the display device.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,724,968 issued Feb. 16, 1988 discloses a display device wherein a composite structure is formed of interconnected elements.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,785,945 issued Nov. 22, 1988 discloses combinations of laterally interlocked modules.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,801,025 issued Jan. 31, 1989 discloses a shelf organizer unit having frangible side and rear portions.
A principal objection to shelving having frangible portions is that such devices cannot be restored to their original size once the frangible portions are broken away. Also once a frangible element is ruptured, a jagged edge is exposed.
A composite organizer shelf for supporting and displaying articles and arranged according to one form of this invention comprises a main support unit including a main rectangular panel element having front, rear and opposed side edges, at least one auxiliary support unit including an auxiliary rectangular planar element having front, rear and opposed side edges, at least one edge of said main rectangular planar element being of a configuration which is complementary to one edge of said auxiliary rectangular planar element, and disjointable coupling means for securing said one edge of said main rectangular element to said edge of said auxiliary rectangular planar element.
In some applications of the invention, a first auxiliary rectangular planar element may be disjointably coupled with a main rectangular planar element and a second auxiliary rectangular planar element may be disjointably coupled with said first auxiliary planar element.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an organizer shelf which may be conveniently mounted on a support such as a conventional shelf;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged perspective view of a portion of a composite shelf formed according to this invention;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged perspective view of fragments of a main shelf and of an auxiliary shelf which may be disjoin coupled together according to this invention;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view from below of the lower surface of a composite shelf formed according to this invention;
FIG. 5 is a detail cross sectional view taken along the line designated 5--5 in FIG. 4; and
FIG. 6 is an exploded fragmentary perspective upside down view of a latch mechanism formed according to one aspect of this invention and which is shown in cross section in FIG. 5.
In FIG. 1 a composite shelf formed according to this invention is shown and displays cans or other articles C. In FIG. 2 a fragment of a shelf unit is shown which includes a main support unit designated by the numeral 1 and an auxiliary support unit 2 which is disjointably connected along its front edge to the rear edge of main support unit 1 in accordance with one aspect of this invention. Main support unit 1 includes a front wall 3 together with divider wall 4 and side wall 5. As is apparent, main support unit 1 is provided with front and side edges from which the walls 3, 4 and 5 are upstanding. The rear edge of main support unit 1 is designated by the numeral 6.
The auxiliary support unit shown in FIG. 2 and designated by the numeral 2 includes rear wall 7, divider wall 8 and side wall 9. These walls as is obvious from FIG. 2 are upstanding from auxiliary unit 2. The front edge of auxiliary unit 2 is designated by the numeral 10.
As shown in FIG. 3, upstanding wall 8 separates auxiliary support unit 2 from auxiliary support unit 2a and these panels may be held together by frangible means generally designated by the numeral 11 as more fully disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,690,287. In like fashion, upstanding wall 8a separates the fragment of main support unit 1 from a fragment of main support unit 1a.
For disjointably connecting main support unit 1 with auxiliary support unit 2, a post 12 is integrally formed with standoff stud 13 which in turn is integrally formed with reinforcing cross strut 14. Socket 15 and its associated channel 16 are formed in main support unit 1. The connection between units 1 and 2 is effected by relative movement in a direction substantially perpendicular to the planes thereof when post 12 is inserted into socket 15 with standoff stud 13 disposed in channel 16. Similarly post 12a is inserted into socket 15a when the parts 1 and 2 are interconnected. Portions of the socket 15a and of the associated channel are not observable in FIG. 3. The main rectangular planar element 1 is shown interconnected with the auxiliary rectangular planar element 2 in FIG. 2.
For some applications of the invention some or all of the posts may be attached to the main support unit and some or all of the sockets may be formed in the auxiliary support unit.
When the parts assembled as shown in FIG. 2, a secondary securing means may be used to supplement the coupling of the posts, thereby to provide additional security in holding the parts together. One example of such means may be the latch L shown in FIGS. 4, 5 and 6. The latching surface LS best shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 overlies the notch N formed in a transverse reinforcing strut S formed integrally with the rear edge 6 of main rectangular planar element 1. Other securing means may be substituted.
Apertures A are formed in various locations to facilitate air circulation and to reduce weight.
As is apparent, the structure formed according to this invention may be used in a flat condition on a level supporting structure or may be operated as a gravity feed device if desired. The arrangement shown in the drawings and as described herein contemplates a main rectangular planar element such as 1 to the rear edge 6 of which the front edge 10 of auxiliary rectangular planar element 2 is disjointably secured. Obviously auxiliary planar elements may be disjointably secured to the side edges of main rectangular support element such as 1. Also a second auxiliary planar element may be disjointably secured to the rear edge of auxiliary planar element 2 in which case rear wall 7 would probably be omitted from auxiliary planar element 2. If provision is made for detachment of the front wall 3 from main rectangular planar element 1, an auxiliary unit having a front wall formed thereon and configured differently from the front wall 3 shown in FIG. 2 may be provided in order to accommodate different sizes and shapes of displayed articles.
By disjointably connecting or disconnecting main and auxiliary side panels, the number of channels could be varied.
The structure of this invention may be formed by a conventional plastic thermoforming process such as injection molding or a vacuum forming process.